Page:EB1911 - Volume 17.djvu/454

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438
MAINE

to the constitution was adopted which declares the manufacture of intoxicating liquors and their sale, except “for medicinal and mechanical purposes and the arts,” forever prohibited. By the law enacted for enforcing this prohibition the governor and council appoint a state liquor commissioner from whom alone the selectmen of a town, the mayor or aldermen of a city, are authorized to receive the liquors which may be sold within the exceptions named in the amendment, and the selectmen, mayor or aldermen appoint an agent who alone is authorized to sell any of these liquors within their jurisdiction and who is forbidden to sell any whatever to minors, Indians, soldiers and drunkards. But the law labours under the disadvantage of all laws not vigorously sustained by general public sentiment, and is grossly violated. For the most part it is executed to the degree demanded by local sentiment in the several municipalities, thus operating in practice much the same as a “local option” law. The law looks to checking the demand by preventing the supply; and since habitual reliance on the stringency of law tends to the neglect of other influences for the removal of evils from the community, the citizens seem to absolve themselves from personal responsibility, both for the execution of the law and for the existence of the evil itself. There has been a strong movement for the repeal of the law, and the question of prohibition has long been an important one in state politics. The death penalty was abolished in Maine in 1876, restored in 1883, and again abolished in 1887.

Penal and Charitable Institutions.—The state penal and reformatory institutions consist of the state prison at Thomaston, the state (reform) school for boys at South Portland, and a state industrial school for girls at Hallowell, established in 1875 and taken over by the state in 1899. The two schools are not places of punishment, but reformatory schools for delinquent boys (from 8 to 16 years of age) and girls (from 6 to 16 years), who have been committed by the courts for violations of law, and, in the case of girls, who, by force of circumstances or associations, are “in manifest danger of becoming outcasts of society.” The prison is in charge of a board of three inspectors and a warden, and each of the other two institutions is in charge of a board of trustees; the inspectors, warden, and trustees are all appointed by the governor and council. Convicts in the prison are usually employed in the manufacture of articles that are not extensively made elsewhere in the state, such as carriages, harness, furniture and brooms. The inmates of the state school for boys receive instruction in farming, carpentry, tailoring, laundry work, and various other trades and occupations; and the girls in the state industrial school are trained in housework, laundering, dressmaking, &c. Paupers are cared for chiefly by the towns and cities, those wholly dependent being placed in almshouses and those only partially dependent receiving aid at their homes. The charitable institutions maintained by the state are: the military and naval orphan asylum at Bath, the Maine institution for the blind at Portland, the Maine school for the deaf (established in 1876, and taken over by the state in 1897) at Portland, the Maine insane hospital at Augusta, the Eastern Maine insane hospital at Bangor, and a school for the feeble-minded (established in 1907) at West Pownal, each of which is governed by trustees appointed by the governor and council, with the exception of a part of those of the orphan asylum, who are appointed by the corporation. Besides the strictly state institutions, there are a number of private charitable institutions which are assisted by state funds; among these are the eye and ear infirmary at Portland, the Maine state sanatorium at Hebron for the treatment of tuberculosis, and various hospitals, orphanages, &c. The national government has a branch of the national home for disabled volunteer soldiers at Togus, and a marine hospital at Portland.

Education.—The school-district system was established in 1800 while Maine was still a part of Massachusetts and was maintained by the first school law passed, in 1821, by the state legislature; but, beginning in the next year, one town after another received the privilege of abolishing its districts, and in 1893 the system was abolished by act of the legislature. A state board of education, composed of one member from each county, was established in 1846, but for this was substituted, in 1852, a commissioner of schools for each county, appointed by the governor, and two years later a state superintendent of schools was substituted for the county commissioners. County supervision by county supervisors was tried in 1869-1872. Since these several changes the common school system has been administered by towns and cities subject to an increasing amount of control through enactments of the state legislature and the general supervision of the state superintendent. The town officers are a superintending school committee of three members and a superintendent. The members of the committee are elected for a term of three years, one retiring every year, and women as well as men are eligible for the office. The superintendent may be elected by the town or appointed by the committee, or towns having not less than twenty or more than fifty schools may unite in employing a superintendent. In cities the committee usually larger than in towns and is commonly elected by wards. Since 1889 each town and city has been required to furnish textbooks, apparatus and supplies, without cost to the pupils. The minimum length of the school year is fixed by a statute of 1891 at twenty weeks; the average length is about twenty-eight weeks; A compulsory education law, enacted in 1901, requires the attendance at some public or approved private school of each child between the ages of seven and fifteen during all the time that school is in session, except that necessary absences may be excused. For the maintenance of the common schools each town is required (since 1905) to raise annually at least fifty-five cents per capita, exclusive of what may be received from other sources, and to this is added the proceeds of a state tax of one and a half mills on a dollar, one-half the proceeds of the tax on savings banks, a 6% income from the permanent school fund (derived mainly from the sale of school lands), and state appropriations for the payment in part of the superintendence in towns that have united for that purpose. Any section of a town may establish and maintain a high school provided there be not more than two such schools in one town, and the state makes appropriations for the support of such schools equal to one-half the cost of instruction, but the maximum grant to any one such school is $250.

The state maintains five normal schools: that at Farmington (established 1864), that at Castine (1866), that at Gorham (1879); that at Presque Isle (the Aroostook state normal school, 1903), and the Madawaska training school at Fort Kent, each of which is under the direction of a board of trustees consisting of the governor, the state superintendent of schools, and five other members appointed by the governor and council for not more than three years. At the head of the public school system is the university of Maine, near the village of Orono in Orono township (pop. in 1900, 3257), Penobscot county. This institution was founded in 1865 as the state college of agriculture and the mechanic arts; in 1897 the present name was adopted. It embraces a college of arts and sciences, a college of agriculture, a college of technology (including a department of forestry), a college of law (at Bangor), and a college of pharmacy. The most conspicuous of its twenty-five buildings is the library, built with funds contributed by Andrew Carnegie. In 1908-1909 the university had 104 instructors and 884 students, of whom 113 were in the college of law at Bangor and 420 in the college of technology. The university is maintained with the proceeds of an endowment fund derived chiefly from public lands given by the national government in accordance with the land grant, or Morrill, Act of 1862 (see Morrill, Justin S.) and from the bequest ($100,000) of Abner Coburn (1803-1885); by appropriations of Congress under the second Morrill Act (1890), and under the Nelson Amendment of 1907, by appropriations of the state legislature, and by fees paid by the students. Connected with the university is an agricultural experiment station, established and maintained under the Hatch Act (1887) and the Adams Act (1906) of the national Congress. The government of the university is entrusted, subject to inspection of the governor and council, to a board of eight trustees. Among the important institutions of learning which have no official connexion with the state are Bowdoin College (opened in 1802), at Brunswick; Colby College (Baptist, opened in 1818), at Waterville; and Bates College (originally Free Baptist but now unsectarian; opened in 1863), at Lewiston. In 1900 5.1% of the state's inhabitants ten years of age and over were illiterate (i.e. could neither read nor write, or could read but not write); of the native whites within this age limit 2.4% were illiterate, of the foreign whites, 19.4%. Of the foreign-born whites 15.7% were unable to speak English.

Finance.—The chief sources of the state's revenue are a general property tax and taxes on the franchises of corporations, especially those of railway and insurance companies and savings banks; among the smaller sources are licences or fees, a poll tax, and a collateral inheritance tax. The general property tax for state and local purposes is assessed by local assessors, but their work is reviewed for the purpose of equalization among the several towns and counties by a board of state assessors, which also assesses the corporations. This board of three members (not more than two of whom may be of the same political party) is elected by a joint ballot of the two houses of the legislature for a term of six years one member retiring every two years. The state is prohibited by the constitution from creating a debt exceeding $300,000 except or the suppression of a rebellion, for repelling an invasion, or for war purposes; and every city and town is forbidden by an amendment adopted in 1877 from creating one exceeding 5% of the assessed value of its property. But the state was authorized by an amendment adopted in 1868 to issue bonds for the reimbursement of the expenses incurred by its cities, towns, and plantations on account of the Civil War, and these bonds, with those issued by the state itself during the Civil War, constituted the largest part of the state's bonded indebtedness. The bonded debt, however, was rapidly being paid; in January 1901 it was $2,103,000, and in January 1909 only $698,000.